Good news for wine and spirit companies


A geographical regime for wines and spirits in New Zealand is one step closer to being implemented after the passing of a bill which will enable New Zealand wine and spirit makers to register the geographical origins of their products.

The Bill amends the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act (the Act) to ensure the process for registering geographical indicators runs smoothly.

The ability to register geographical indications for wines and spirits will provide an additional level of protection for wine and spirit producers and will make it easier for trade mark owners to enforce their rights in New Zealand. It will also make it easier for exporters to promote and protect their wine and spirits in some overseas markets.

Consumers will also benefit from this new regime as the geographical indicators will offer a guarantee that a product comes from a specific region and enjoys the qualities and reputation specific to that region.

The passing of this bill is considered a massive milestone for all major wine regions in New Zealand. In a recent press statement, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith stated that “the value of our wine exports has now reached $1.6 billion. We must jealously guard the reputation of New Zealand wines if we are to continue growing our wine exports.”

The Act will be administered by The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). It is understood that IPONZ has completed preparation for the implementation. The next step will be finalising the regulations.

It is expected that the Act will come into force in early 2017.

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